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Is Natural Ventilation a Useful Tool to Prevent the Airborne Spread of TB?

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Public Library of Science
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PMC
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  • Perspectives
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  • Medicine

Abstract

TB Elimination. The Difference Between Latent TB Infection and TB Disease. CS227840_F (Page 1 of 2) TB Elimination The Difference Between Latent TB Infection and TB Disease National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention Division of Tuberculosis Elimination What is TB? Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by a germ called Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is spread from person to person through the air. TB usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body, such as the brain, the kidneys, or the spine. When a person with infectious TB coughs or sneezes, droplet nuclei containing M. tuberculosis are expelled into the air. If another person inhales air containing these droplet nuclei, he or she may become infected. However, not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB- related conditions exist: latent TB infection and TB disease. What is Latent TB Infection? Persons with latent TB infection do not feel sick and do not have any symptoms. They are infected with M. tuberculosis, but do not have TB disease. The only sign of TB infection is a positive reaction to the tuberculin skin test or TB blood test. Persons with latent TB infection are not infectious and cannot spread TB infection to others. Overall, without treatment, about 5 to 10% of infected persons will develop TB disease at some time in their lives. About half of those people who develop TB disease will do so within the first two years of infection. For persons whose immune systems are weak, especially those with HIV infection, the risk of developing TB disease is considerably higher than for persons with normal immune systems. Of special concern are persons infected by someone with extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR TB) who later develop TB disease; these persons will have XDR TB, not regular TB disease. A person with latent TB infection • Usually has a skin test or blood test result indicating TB infection

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